Sunday, February 26, 2006

My next car will get 157MPG

So this car gets 157MPG...

Sure it's not super fast but I'm not 18 anymore and speed isn't as important as it once was. My current car doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles and I'm fine with this lacking a bit.

The thing is I since moving into the north-end I put 4500 miles on my car last year. If I had this car I'd need to fill up 3 times a year... That's about $90 bucks a year for gas. Or I could drive to Cali for about $35 bucks or Florida and back on 3/4 of a tank or so.

With all these new cars with super high gas efficiently you kind have to wonder what the @@!# the car companies have been doing the last 30 years besides getting there pockets lined by the Oil Companies because the turbo diesel engine has been around for a very long while....

Oh did I mention they only cost about $13,000 US?


Cheers for Stacy!!

I'd just like to say WOOHOO(!) to my longtime friend Stacy for making an awesome choice on one of the only Gadgets I've ever seen her purchase in the last 8 (or is it 9?) years of knowing her! You did good buddy! ;-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

*UPDATED* I'm running Windows Vista

So I finally got around to installing the Windows Vista Beta... Actually I read some reviews that it was stable to the point that you could use it without to many problems so I figured it was time to jump in!

I'll keep my thoughts brief as I've got too many too tell on the subject. But I will try and kill a few impressions and concerns that I had when reading about the OS over the last year or so.

First off Windows Vista is a more then a simple graphic upgrade to XP. It's not whole lot more but there is more to it then that.

Microsoft is laying the ground work for an entirely different way to think about the files on your computer and more importantly they are going to change the way you use your computer...

They're moving away from the "tree" based file system (c:\ being the root and all the folders and files below being the rest of the tree) to an SQL based file system that will not care where the software is installed or where your My Document folder actually is, just that's it there. This allows you to access your data in a lot of different ways that were slow and inefficient with a tree based file system. It will also add a lot of flexibility in the corporate and security world. Word on the street is the SQL file system will not be part of Vista but it's smart to get us used to using our systems in a way that seems like we are using the new file system... Yeah..

A couple other things that the press has been harping on is that we'll all need these beastly computers to run Vista due to the 3D interface... Fact is the Beta which is always slower then the final product is as fast and in a lot of ways faster then XP. It will require more ram then normal but honestly everyone should be considering 1 gig as a standard now days. It also handles ram much more efficiently than in XP so while it says you're using more ram then normal but that's because it's actually speeding up your system.

Next thing is this "3D" interface that they keep pushing.. The picture about is the only thing "3D" about the interface in the way you think of 3D. The tilted look above is just a way to select a window that's open. You can't tilt windows on the fly or anything. What is 3D about the interface is the window borders, menus, and a lot of other things have this awesome frosted glass look to them. You can even see through them. It's really nice looking. There are some really cool animations that make switching between windows a lot smoother. Over the graphic changes are really great.

My biggest issue with the OS so far is the new "security" features they have built into it. They are completely over the top. On a default install every time (and I mean every time) you click on ANYTHING that launches a program you get a pop up window that asks if you want to permit the action... I want to use my damn computer and don't have time to click "permit" every time I click on something! If I didn't want to launch it I wouldn't have clicked on it! This is still in beta so hopefully they will listen to the cries of the testers and change this before the final release.

Anyway, there are some other things that are good and bad but overall once the new interface started to click and I started to think differently about how I access my data I find my self really liking it. I think it's going to be extremely difficult for the average user to get used to but honestly.... What isn't?

Sorry. I'm an IT guy what do you expect? ;-)


So the latest version of the Vista beta was released yesterday. This the first one with all the features that Vista will have built in. And more importantly the user interface has had a huge update done to it and is much easier for the average user to get around in.

Things feel a little more like the XP interface only much nicer looking, the access to data as changed back to a better mix of old and new allowing for the everyday user to adapt much easier to the new system.

Windows Explorer still does some odd things like once you go a few folders deep the quick access links on the left side go away and it becomes a single view of the folder you're in.. That's fine and all but it doesn't allow for easy copy and paste from one folder 3 levels deep to another folder a few levels deep. And what if I want to copy a few files from a folder into a number of other folders? I'd have to open another window or navigate all the way to folder and then back just to copy the one file. The left panel shouldn't go away just because I went a couple folders deep.

The 3D effects are fully working now and IMO it looks really good. I'm sure they will only get better... It seems the effect that you see in the first screen shot that tilts all the windows has been removed or at least haven't found it yet. It was in the quick launch bar in the last build. I can't say this is a bad thing, while it's cool looking it honestly had little use. At least for me.

The same windows security features are still on by default which is a MAJOR mistake on Microsoft’s part and it's difficult to disable as it has to be done via group policy. The OS should not ask you to permit the action every time I double click on ANYTHING. That's just crazy and I really have no clue how someone can use it for more then ten minutes and think it's a good idea.

Oh one other thing is all of my laptop's drivers are support on the default install expect for my sound card and oddly my modem! This is HUGE to us who reformat hundreds of machines a year and have to go dig up drivers for everything.

Once again I'm much more impressed then I expected to be with the OS. See the screen shot above for a little better view of the new Aero Glass 3D desktop.

And Now.... Your moment of Zen...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Top Twenty Myths

Myth: A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's

Despite a habit of licking things no human would dare, Fido's mouth is often touted as scientifically more sterile. Truth is, oral bacteria are so species-specific that one can't be considered cleaner than the other, just different.

See! Sharing a beer with Luna isn't as gross as you all make it out to be! Sure she licks the bottle more then me but come on she's a dog! :)

See the rest of the myths here: LINK

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

And Now.... Your moment of Zen...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Video Games make your Brain better.

I've personally felt that video games are good for you for a long time now... If you've followed my blog over the last year or so you'll have seen a number of posts supporting this idea. Below is more of the same, however I've noticed that over the year the studies are more detailed and have stronger possitive results in favor of video games. So once again if you don't play, you should, Plain and simple. Video games have long since left the "Kids toys" arena, Hell they haven't been for only for kids since I stopped being a kid. (Techincally that is. :)

I'd just like to say "I grew up in the heart of the Video Game era and I'm better off for it."

Better living through video games?

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

When he snags downtime from his schoolwork, Ryerson University student Brad Evans gabs with friends, grooves to Kanye West on his MP3 player and races virtual hotrods on his Sony PlayStation. All at the same time.

Before you assume gadgets and video games fry the minds of the future, consider this: Canadian researchers are finding evidence that the high-speed, multitasking of the young and wireless can help protect their brains from aging.

A body of research suggests that playing video games provides benefits similar to bilingualism in exercising the mind. Just as people fluent in two languages learn to suppress one language while speaking the other, so too are gamers adept at shutting out distractions to swiftly switch attention between different tasks.

A new study of 100 university undergraduates in Toronto has found that video gamers consistently outperform their non-playing peers in a series of tricky mental tests. If they also happened to be bilingual, they were unbeatable.

"The people who were video game players were better and faster performers," said psychologist Ellen Bialystok, a research professor at York University. "Those who were bilingual and video game addicts scored best -- particularly at the most difficult tasks."

The York study, which tested subjects' responses to various misleading visual cues, is to be published next month in the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology. Three other studies published in the past two years have also concluded that action video games can lead to mental gains involving visual skills and short-term memory.

No one is certain how this translates to general learning or everyday life. But Mr. Evans, 21, an aerospace engineering student, said years of gaming have added valuable dimensions to his thinking.

"I grew up with video games, starting with Nintendo and SuperMario . . . from the age of 8 or 9," he said. "I know it helps with my dexterity; it's good for co-ordination and faster reflexes."

Prof. Bialystok suspects video gamers, like bilinguals, have a practised ability to block out information that is irrelevant to the task at hand.

"It's like going to the gym," she said. "You build up the ability to control impulses with practice."

Brain-imaging research released this week shows that the physical inability to silence mental noise is key in making the elderly prone to distraction and poor multitaskers.

That study, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, shows the elderly lose the ability to power up brain regions, such as the frontal lobe, needed to focus on a task, and to turn down activity in inner brain regions that are most active when a person is in idle or default mode.

"You can't turn off the extraneous things . . . the areas involved in thinking of the self -- 'What do I have to do? . . . Gee, I have a really bad headache," said study leader Cheryl Grady, senior scientist and associate director at Toronto's Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest.

In contrast, the brain images of people between ages 20 and 30 displayed a far more dramatic see-saw effect activating and de-activating regions as they shifted out of idle to task. The study found this pattern begins to dull in middle age and actually results in cognitive deficits beyond age 60.

Dr. Grady said the results suggest that the brains of today's youth might grow up differently.

"Young people using all of these gadgets all of the time, at the same time, it may actually make a difference when they're old, like bilingualism does," she said. "We know that practice changes the brain, as with playing an instrument, a motor task -- it makes physical changes in the brain. Maybe those kids who play video games and who are also bilingual will be the best of older adults at filtering out distractions."

Neuroscientist Shitij Kapur, chief of research at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said "it would be quite reasonable to expect that these teens are good at multitasking, because they grow up in a world that demands it."

But, he noted: "Today's teens may be better than their grandparents, but when they are in their 70s, their grandchildren will say, 'Hey, he can only play three games at the same time and I play seven.' It's relative impairment. Their grandchildren will not think any higher of them."

Prof. Bialystok first noticed bilingual children were proficient in blocking out irrelevant information about 20 years ago. When asked to identify a grammatically correct sentence, for example, both bilinguals and monolinguals are, by age 5, able to choose, "Apples grow on trees," over "Apple trees on grow" as the correct one.

But when it came to asking "Apples grow on noses" versus "Apples nose on grow," only the bilingual children were able to choose the right answer. Although the first sentence is grammatically correct, monolingual children could not get over its silliness. "That's crazy," they'd shout, "You can't say that!"

"We have been able to show on a huge range of cognitive tests that bilinguals are always better at problems with tricky, misleading information," Prof. Bialystok said.

On average, she said, monolingual children take a year longer to learn to block out irrelevant information and focus on a specific task.

Skeptics have argued that this matters little since monolingual children eventually catch up to bilingual ones. As well, children fluent in two languages can take slightly longer in tests identifying objects and also go through a period when they might have smaller vocabularies than those fluent in just one language.

But for anyone of two minds about learning a second language, researchers are finding that bilingualism -- be it in French, Greek, Portuguese or Hindi -- has lifelong benefits.

"Does bilingualism protect you from cognitive decline? Every study we've done suggests that it does," Prof. Bialystok said.

The York team recently compared 94 bilinguals and monolinguals between the ages of 30 and 80. It found that while both groups started showing cognitive decline by age 60, the rate of slowing for bilinguals was much slower.

Now young people who play video games are showing this similar pattern of high performance in resisting irrelevant impulses. The current report compared 50 avid players against 50 non-players and then subdivided each group between bilinguals and monolinguals.

When asked to describe the colour of the word "blue," for example, when it is written in green ink, non-players were far more likely to choose the dominant impulse and say "blue," though the colour is green. "The [video game players] are much harder to mislead, to trick," Prof. Bialystok said.

Although Prof. Bialystok is a strong proponent of bilingual education, she is less enthusiastic about video games. Recent studies have found overexposure to violent video games may desensitize children to violence and that gaming can become addictive enough to distract from other activities.

"I'd still be plenty concerned if my child played them all the time," Prof. Bialystok said. "Sure, they're getting better at rapid search and response problems, but I really would prefer my child read a book."

Scource LINK

Verizon charging $417,949.73 for 3 way Calling!

"Holy Drunk'in Coder Debug-Man!"

You read the title correctly. Verizon charged a large number of people $417,949.73 (carry the 1) for 3 Way Calling!! The Picture above is a real shot of the bill. You just have to wonder when things like this happen. If the smarter ones are adding 10 cents to every customers bill a month who would know it? Who would care? They would make a TON. We're very trusting of our computers and automatic billing systems.

That's one of the reasons I haven't switched over to automatic debit for my bills. Once it's gone then you have to ASK for it back. You have no leverage if they screw you, mistake or not!

Check out this LINK for a little more info.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Yeah.. Bored.

Microsoft is Milking it again

It seems Microsoft is milking the Halo franschise for everything thing it's worth. First 'Gates says they will release Halo 3 on the same day as Playstation 3 to stab a final blow to Sony. Now this! It's shamless guys.

Halo 2 Coming to Windows Vista, not XP
>> From
Halo fans will have to upgrade their computer if they want to follow Master Chief's adventures on the PC.

Microsoft has announced that the PC version of Halo 2 will only work on the new version of Windows called Vista.
The decision could make it expensive for many to play the game if they have to buy the new version of Windows and extra hardware for their PC.
Microsoft has given no definite release date for Vista but it is expected to be available by the end of 2006.

Read More:, and the official pressrelease.
Discuss this news item on our forums:
(Thursday 09 February 2006 16:33 EST) - (direct link to article)

Self Portrait

So I've been sick for a week. Haven't left the couch for a week! Getting BORED. So I'm playing with my new camera again.. This time shots of my self. I've been sick so I look a little ruff. But hey. :)

The red shot is basically my blood lighting my face. I put my finger over the flash. :)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Top Ten ADD Advantages in a Hi Tech Career

1. The Ability to Hyperfocus.

Hours of full engagement and concentration in a task, IF you find it interesting. You can get into the zone and be totally immersed in what you’re doing while the outside world disappears. When I went on the net for the first time in 1993 at an Internet cafe I got on the machine at 8 pm and around 4 am decided it was time to go home.

2. Rapid Fire Mind.

Your brain processes information at hyperspeed. You can do things in 30 minutes on a computer that might take other people hours. Downside if you’re stuck with an old machine and not enough RAM you’ll be frustrated cause it can’t keep up with the speed of your brain.

3. Multitasking at Will.

Able to run 14 apps at a time and effortlessly switch between each without breaking a sweat. Able to do several projects at a time with ease.

4. High Energy Level.

You’re able to keep going on a project (if it’s interesting, ADDers are more into creative and entrepreneurial activities than clerical and repetitive ones). 14-hour days? No problem. Adrenaline is my fuel source:)

5. Highly Creative.

Able to think beyond the idea of a box. This comes naturally for ADDers, while others pay thousands of dollars to try and learn this. Since you take in more information than the average person, and you’re easily distractible, you’re more likely to view a problem from many different angles than vanilla people (non ADDers), and therefore come up with more possible solutions to a problem. Need an idea generator? Find an ADDer.

6. Quick Learner.

IF it’s something you’re interested in. ADD is mainly a condition of boredom; you have no trouble paying attention to something if it’s interesting. Most people find it difficult to do boring or repetitive things but these can often totally shut an ADDer down. Your rapid fire brain + highly creative mind + the ability to hyperfocus equals fast absorption of new information quickly. Dr Ed Hallowell, who has ADD and has written several Delivered from Distraction : Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder, said he stopped teaching Psychiatry at Harvard University because the non-ADDers brains were just to slow and they took so long to get it. He got tired of being continually frustrated waiting for them to catch up to the ADD students.

7. Stimulus Seeking Brain.

A perfect match for the wired world, an under stimulated brain and an over stimulated virtual environment. Being an info junkie can be a good thing. Well, not always:)

8. Constantly Scanning your Environment.

Allows you to notice more and find information and resource that others miss. Also allows you to see possible problems before they arise, and opportunities that others may not see because they have tunnel vision vs. multiplex vision. An ADDer invented the electronic ticket.

9. Great in a Crisis.

High energy intense situation? Lots of chaos and change? Sign me up; I thrive on stimulation, change and chaos. We can create order from chaos effortlessly. We can also create such an environment as well if needed.

10. Risk Taker.

Impulsivity means you’re more willing to take risks and have a bias for action, act now while the opportunity is hot instead of getting into analysis paralysis. Many entrepreneurs have ADD i.e. Paul Orfalea who founded Kinko’s, JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman who attributes his creativity to ADD. Both are Billionaires. Imagine how successful a high tech CEO would be if they didn’t take many risks.

These are just a start of the advantages of ADD, for more go to the list of 151 positive characteristics of people with ADD at my ADD Resource website.

This is not to say there are no disadvantages or real problems associated with ADDers in a high tech career, there most certainly are, and if you don’t learn to manage them, they can a great deal of trouble and grief to your life (and those around you), but that’s another article.

Source link

Check out this guys page if you have any interest in ADD. It's a good resource.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fun stuff with a new camera

Normal Shot

Color swapped Red for Green

The Camera lets you pick a color and then a second color to "Swap" with the first one. So I selected the red blanket and the green on a Gatorade Bottle. Turned out pretty good! Fun stuff. Don't know how useful it is for everyday shots but you can make things almost invisible.. See below. :)

So I color swapped Luna with the Blanket... Looks like she's part of the blanket.

You can also select a color and make everything but the color Black and White. I'm sure it works better with some define colors but I'm just playing around and I've been sick for a week so the house is all I've been taking pictures of lately. :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

And Now.... Your moment of Zen...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Honda is making a fuel cell car!

It's about time! Everyone now "NO MORE GAS! NO MORE GAS!"


So I got a new Camera

I finally got a new Camera it's been 6 years since my last one and that's like time going back to a time before the light bulb in the Digital Camera world!

I read a LOT of reviews and actually thought about how I would use the camera and didn't just look at the best specs I could afford. I did that last time and hated the camera from the day I bought it and I paid $1000 bucks for it as well...

Dell had a damn good deal on a Canon A620 ($288 after shipping and tax) which fit the high mega pixel, small compact size, and most of all a good set of features but without all the advanced ones that the pro-versions have. I'll honestly never use most of the advanced features and if I need them I'll buy a Digital SLR.
I also feel that I'll never carry a full size SLR around with me, the A620 is a little bigger then than a true pocket camera but the added optical zoom, higher quality lens, plus higher over all image quality make up for it slightly bigger size. It's by no means large regardless, fits in one hand just fine.

I've taken a few shots just messing around. Still haven't gotten all the controls down, while it has less advanced features that doesn't mean it doesn't have more than I can keep track of. :)

Mmm... Buttons...

I65 While Steph is Driving #2

I65 While Steph is Driving #2

Shot of Downtown from while driving #1

Shot of Downtown from while driving #2

My Keyboard

Stuart & Jack

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Model Jet 280 MPH!!

Aaawwww Top Gun... Such a BAD movie with such good memorys....


Just shoot me now

When will our government wake up and smell the technology? My laptop is more powerful then the computers the IRS uses to compute our tax returns.... And you wonder why you have to wait so long for that refund...

Why do I live in this country again? I think it's just about time to leave again....

Luna has a Brother

Everyone, meet Jack! He's Luna's new baby brother!